A champion in Mexico, St. George Stable’s Letruska now finds herself contending if not leading for a championship this year as North America’s outstanding older dirt female.
Coming off victories in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap and Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Stakes, Letruska was heavily favored at 7-10 odds in the six-horse Fleur de Lis. She quickly showed why, taking charge under Jose Ortiz with splits of :24.53, :48.19, and 1:11.36 in the 1 1/8-mile dirt race, while being chased by Antoinette.
Under coaxing from Florent Geroux; Godolphin’s Antoinette put occasional pressure on the leader but each time, 124-pound highweight Letruska spurted away. A length and a half in front after six furlongs, she extended her advantage down the stretch, opening up a four-length lead after a mile and was 5 3/4 lengths ahead of Antoinette; who was carrying 119, at the wire.
She has won four stakes races. Also has run with the top horses in the division Swiss Skydiver, Monomoy Girl, Shedaresthedevil, and she won. Letruska definitely has potential and has earned a spot Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Del Mar.
Bred in Kentucky by St. George Stables, an operation owned by Germán Larrea Mota-Velasco, Letruska started racing in the United States in December. She has earned more than $1.6 million.
Ortiz confident ride under Letruska
“I was just sitting on her,” said Ortiz, describing his confident ride. The Fleur de Lis is the ninth victory in the U.S. for filly, who won her first six starts in Mexico before being imported to race in this country. Six of those U.S. wins have been graded stakes. “There was a little question mark coming into this race off three weeks rest, but I knew Fausto is a great trainer, and he’d have her ready,” said Ortiz, who won his third Fleur de Lis, all since 2018.
Fleur de Lis History
The event was inaugurated on 31 May 1975 as the Fleur de Lis Handicap; and was won by the favorite Bundler defeating four other runners on a sloppy track in the time of 1:392⁄5 over the mile distance. The event was held over the same distance for one more year before being extended to 1+1⁄16 miles. The event is named after the English translation for the French “fleur-de-lis”, a flower of the lily. The lily is the symbol of the Louisville flag, the location where the event is held. The lily has traditionally been used to represent French royalty and Louisville, named for the French king Louis XVI.
The event’s condition from 1983–85 and 1987–89 was for four-year-olds & older; The event was upgraded to Grade III in 1988 and again to Grade II in 2002. Since 2015 the event has been a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” for the Longines Distaff
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